(Natural News) Hu Xijin, the editor of the Chinese state-run tabloid Global Times, mocked U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump after both tested positive for the coronavirus. In a now-deleted tweet, Hu said the president and the first lady’s test result was “the price for his gamble to play down” the current pandemic. In addition, the Global Times editor commented that Trump’s coronavirus infection “will impose a negative impact” on his image and would also impact his re-election.
The Global Times was not the only state-run newspaper that derided the First Couple. In its Oct. 2 report, China Daily spoke of Trump’s infection as “yet another reminder that the coronavirus continues to spread” despite the U.S. president’s claims suggesting otherwise. The article also took jabs at the refusal of Trump’s cabinet to abide with public health guidelines such as wearing face masks and practicing social distancing.
Trump confirmed the COVID-19 test results in an Oct. 2 tweet shortly after his close aide Hope Hicks tested positive the day before. The First Couple have begun their self-quarantine at the White House and “are both well” as of writing, presidential physician Sean Conley said.
Three media outlets run by the government—CCTV, China Daily and Xinhua—published short articles on the matter without commenting. An Oct. 2 follow-up report said a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson hoped for the First Couple’s recovery.
Chinese netizens had mixed reactions toward Trump’s coronavirus infection
Meanwhile, Chinese netizens expressed disbelief toward Trump’s infection and wished the First Couple a speedy recovery. A few expressed satisfaction over the positive test results, but they received criticism from other users.
Blogger Cai Xiaoseng quoted German Writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe in a post on social media platform Weibo:” “When people really deteriorate, their only contribution is malicious joy in the misfortune of others.” Another Chinese netizen, Fatty Qiang, seconded Cai: “If you gloat over other people’s afflictions, you are not worthy of being called a human.”
Some small business owners saw the news as an opportunity to promote their products. One small private mobile phone shop posted on Weibo that it would give a 200 to 500 yuan ($30 to $44) discount on cell phones in celebration of Trump testing positive for the coronavirus. Another business, a coffee shop, announced it would give away a cup of American coffee to any guests who shop inside.
Hu Xijin’s inflammatory rhetoric also extends to Taiwan, not just the U.S.
Before his Twitter post, Hu published several inflammatory articles against the U.S. and Taiwan in the Global Times.
In a Sept. 11 piece, he wrote that China must be “militarily and morally ready” for a potential war against the U.S. According to Hu, China is a rising power “ideologically weakened by the U.S. and the West” and its territorial disputes with other countries were triggered by the U.S. to keep the communist country in line. However, he warned against doing anything rash as “China is not a country that bullies the small,” emphasizing the use of military force when all options are exhausted.
Hu did not have good words to say to the former Taiwanese president Lee Teng-hui, who passed away last July. In a July 31 article, he slammed the so-called godfather of Taiwanese independence as a “sinner in the eyes of the Chinese nation” and accused him of leading Taiwan “to a dead end.” Hu added that separatists such as Lee will “live in infamy” and “be notorious in Chinese history” for promoting secessionism. (Related: China using Facebook to push pro-unification agenda in Taiwan.)
However, it is important to note that Hu’s newspaper Global Times is directly controlled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The CCP has been challenged by Trump’s hardline approach different from his predecessors, as reflected by its antagonistic slant towards the Republican president. Therefore, an election victory by Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden would be more favorable to the CCP’s interests.